Tributes have been paid on Bute to Lord Attenborough following the death of the world-renowned actor and director on Sunday at the age of 90.
Lord Attenborough and his wife Sheila owned Rhubodach House at the north end of the island and were regular visitors to Bute until the mid-2000s.
Lord Attenborough, who was knighted in 1976 and made a life peer in 1993, was an enthusiastic supporter of attempts to breathe new life into the A-listed Winter Garden on the Rothesay seafront, which was built for use as a variety theatre but fell into disuse as the town’s seaside resort appeal began to struggle against the attractions of cheap holidays in the Spanish sun.
The refurbished Winter Garden was opened as the Isle of Bute Discovery Centre - comprising the island’s tourist information centre and cinema - in September 2001, with Lord Attenborough, who was a patron of the Winter Garden Trust, among those present at the opening.
Centre manager Hazel Mulholland said: “He was a great supporter of our cinema and Gandhi was the first film that was shown after renovations were completed.”
Miss Mulholland’s predecessor James McMillan, who was the local tourist board’s area manager when the facility was opened, added: “None of us in the then Tourist Board had any prior experience of running a cinema and he gave us invaluable advice and put us in touch with lots of very useful people. He was a real gentleman.”
* More in this week’s issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, August 28.